It has been a while since I last blogged. 2008 was quite a year for me, both running and blogging about running (running a marathon a week, and then daily blogging), and by the end of the year something had to crack. Fortunately for my running, the blogging was the one to go (I did complete the "marathon" a week, for a total of 54 marathons for the year).
I think I am ready to get back to it (more than a year later!).
This past weekend, I participated in the Easter Sun Run 10k. Though not always the case on organized runs, I intended to treat this run as a “race” and really challenge myself for a good finish time. Although I haven’t really be training for a hard effort, I have been able to put in some quality miles lately. The morning began beautifully with 40 degree temperatures and low wind. I was feeling up to the challenge.
As the race start approached, I headed to the front of starting area, trying to position myself as to not fight the congestion of the tight course (i.e., sidewalks) and the large starting field. I am one who gets very nervous playing with the big dogs (i.e, positioning myself in front of all other runners), as I’m not one who takes myself too seriously with running (maybe it’s a confidence issues as I don’t picture myself as one of the fast guys, maybe it’s that I’m not too sure of my abilities to finish in my goal times). As we stood there, the race director instructed all those intending to run sub 6:30 miles to cross the starting tape, to ensure that they were in fact segregated in front of the rest of the pack. While this did include me, I really struggled to cross the tape and show myself as one of the 25 or so individuals who had a goal of 40 minutes or less. I bit the bullet and crossed. I felt very out of place, although I knew deep down that I am good enough to hang with some of these folks.
On the gun, the race began. The first quarter mile is always well above pace, as the field spreads out and positions are established. I settled in with about 20 or so in front of me, at a 6:15 min/mile or so pace. This course, unlike most races I run, was marked in kilometers and not miles, so time checks were given much more frequently. As I approached the first “k”, I felt confident that I was right in my grove at a sub 39 minute pace.
I continued on. At 2 and 3 k I maintained a solid 6:10-6:15 min/mile pace. By kilometer 4, I was beginning to feel the pace and question my strategy, as my heart rate was already above 180 (my theoretical maximum heart rate based on age is only 190, so I am clearly in the red zone with nearly 4 miles to go). I decided it didn’t matter – who cares if I crash and burn, I wanted to give a sub 39 minute 10k a shot.
I hit the 5k mark in 19:07, a new 5k PR for me! This was a real pick-me-up, although I had hoped to be at that mark in just under 19:00. I continued on, knowing that every 4 minutes or so I was a kilometer closer to finishing.
By 6k, I was really struggling. I was pushing my limits, and my body was rejecting it. I didn’t let it affect my pace, but it was painful. At 7k, I was still on pace, only slowing a little from my first 5k pace. At 8k, I began trying to catch the runner in front of me by 15 seconds or so. I picked away at that deficit one second at a time, until about 200 meters to go when I finally caught him. The charge proved too much for me, and he took me by 2 seconds at the finish, but I’m glad he was there to encourage me to try and catch him. 38:35.
In the end, it was still a beautiful morning. I discovered that I finished 2nd in my age group, and 18th overall (around 750 participants). I set a PR by nearly 1:25, and really felt great doing it.